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America’s Skilled Trades Dilemma

During any type of weather event – a spring storm causes heavy rains, hail, fallen trees, or the frigid temperatures of winter causing pipes to freeze or burst, we all know that can be overwhelming. A lack of tradespeople is going to create an even bigger task for contractors as well as property owners. That leaking roof, flooded basement, HVAC or plumbing repairs or a home remodel project is becoming more challenging. When you do find a qualified contractor is likely to cost more and take longer to complete because of a widespread shortage of skilled tradespeople. “Skilled trades” refers to a number of occupations which require specific hands-on skills, such as machinists, welders, plumbers, and electricians. These occupations are a critical part of the nation’s workforce, and play key roles in the fields of manufacturing, construction, and repair. There’s a growing concern that, as the baby-boom generation of skilled-trade workers approaches retirement, there aren’t enough younger workers trained to replace them. This leads to a large factor in the shortage of workers in the skilled trades: educational focus. The elimination of shop class in high schools played a big role. For many students, this was their first exposure to the kind of hands-on experience that could ignite a career in a trade. Removing the shop and mechanical classes from the high school curriculum has cut-off that pipeline from the school to the industry. Regardless, it is important to remember that a 4-year university isn’t the best fit for every student, and that vocational schools can offer students valuable skills which can result in immediate employment. While there may not...

Dangers of Wind Chill and Falling Temperatures

What is Windchill? How cold it “feels” outside isn’t just about temperature! You also need to consider the speed of the wind. As the wind speed increases, the body is cooled at a faster rate causing the skin temperature to drop. The combination of cold temperature and high wind could create such a severe cooling effect that your flesh would actually freeze. What is Frostbite? You have frostbite when your body tissue freezes. The most susceptible parts of the body are fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose. Symptoms include a loss of feeling in the extremity and a white or pale appearance. Get medical attention immediately for frostbite. The area should be slowly rewarmed using warm, not hot water. What is Hypothermia? Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below 95˚F. Determine your temperature with a thermometer. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion. Get medical attention immediately. If you can’t get help quickly, begin warming the body slowly. Warm the body core first, not the extremities. Warming extremities first drives the cold blood to the heart and can cause the body temperature to drop further–which may lead to heart failure. If you are helping someone else with hypothermia, get the person into dry clothing and wrap in a warm blanket. Be sure to cover the head and neck. Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any hot beverage or food. Warm broth and food is better. About 20 percent of cold related deaths occur in the home. Young children under the age of two and the elderly (those...

Keep an Eye on Your Pipes as Wind Chill Warnings are Issued.

Above Freezing Temperatures Could Cause Big Headaches from Frozen Pipes As the latest blast of winter is approaching, it looks like little relief of frigid temperatures is in sight as we will see a few days with above freezing temperatures towards the end of the week. While most of us will enjoy this, this is also a time when frozen pipes will begin revealing themselves. The sustained cold conditions that we will experience will, without a doubt, leave many homeowners with frozen pipes. We want to remind everyone that frozen pipes now could result in a problem in the future. When pipes freeze, it is a headache and inconvenience all on its own. As the water freezes, it expands and can often split or break the pipes. The problem comes when they thaw. As pipes begin to thaw, the water forces through at full-pressure. This can cause bursting pipes that could be in your attic, walls, ceilings, crawl spaces and basements. If a pipe in your home has already frozen, but has not yet burst, you may still be able to thaw the water and avoid any permanent damage. If only a tiny trickle of water comes out of the faucet when you turn it on, then chances are, the water inside is frozen. Here are some steps you can try to get the ice to melt. Keep your faucet open and uncovered. Apply heat directly to the pipe. You can use electric heating pads or towels soaked in hot water, applied directly to the outsides of the pipes. Space heaters and hair dryers can also be used to...

Driving in Snowstorms & Extremely Cold Temperatures

  Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can: Last a few hours or several days; Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk. IF YOU ARE UNDER A WINTER STORM WARNING, FIND SHELTER RIGHT AWAY Stay off roads. Stay indoors and dress warmly. Prepare for power outages. Use generators outside only and away from windows. Listen for emergency information and alerts. Look for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Check on neighbors. HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A WINTER STORM THREATENS: Prepare NOW Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time. Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups. Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights. Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight,...

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

On January 9th, 2019 the country will recognize and support all law enforcement officers through  National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.). In light of recent negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, there is a need to show law enforcement officers that our citizens recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen, in public service to us all. The team at Thompson Building Associates sends out its sincere gratitude and deep appreciation to all law enforcement officers across the nation and we encourage you to go “BLUE” in support of officers everywhere. We express our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those from the law enforcement community we lost in 2018. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.   • Change your profile picture on social media with this image • Wear blue clothing in support of officers. • Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency. • Share a story about a positive law enforcement experience on social media. • Ask children in your community to write letters in support of law enforcement. • Participate in Project Blue Light – Proudly display your blue light in support of law enforcement. Most importantly, if you see a police officer, thank a police officer. Visit us on Facebook Learn more about...